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02nd Jan 2022

Coloured tattoo inks to face restrictions in EU from tomorrow

Danny Jones

Many coloured tattoo inks to be banned in EU

Monochrome markings only until the situation is resolved

Some tattoos could start to become a thing of the past as most coloured tattoo inks are set to be heavily restricted in Europe from next week.

As reported by the Metro, the EU’s Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) has now outlawed around 4,000 chemicals different typically found in the coloured tattoo ink.

The chemicals in question are thought to be linked with “cancer or genetic mutations”, with many pointing out that several inks have already been banned from being applied on top of the skin, let alone into it.

The ban is set to come into effect on January 4th and while we may have left the EU, it remains to be seen how this will affect the tattoo industry in Britain, as the UK still follows the union’s lead in many of its law-making processes and policies.

REACH insists that ‘the aim is not to ban tattooing but to make the colours used in tattoos and permanent make-up safer”. At present, most standard coloured tattoo inks are currently made with said chemicals.

Both manufacturers and artists are now looking for a resolution, with many tattoo parlours now having to turn away willing customers because they cannot provide the work they want.

While it is expected that safer ink will be introduced sometime soon, two colours, in particular – Pigment Blue 15:3 and Pigment Green 7 – are under threat as they are not only comprised of hazardous chemicals but finding suitable alternatives is proving more difficult.

There is even a petition entitled ‘Save the Pigments’ that is currently being put to the European Parliament and already has over 75,000 signatures. For now, REACH is giving until January 4th, 2023 to source alternatives for these two tricky pigments.

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